A Palestinian Garden

This is the title I have given to my latest little embroidery project. Every so often I like to return to the lovely designs in traditional Palestinian embroidery. This project was a bit ambitious for me and took just over 50 hours to stitch the dam thing. But I enjoyed it and feel it was worth the effort. Here it is.  IMG_0538I chose Palestinian garden as a title for this piece as all the motifs represent things you could find in a garden.  All are taken from the book, Palestinian Embroidery Motifs, A Treasury of Stitches 1850 – 1950, by Margarita Skinner and Widad Kamel Kawar.

The fabric is an 18ct Aida in light green and the finished piece was to fit into an old frame I had picked up second hand. So this gave me the dimensions for the composition – 290mmx140mm. I quickly made some choices about the overall design. I would, unlike traditional Palestinian embroidery, limit myself to a couple of main colours. Greens and reds were the two I settled on, though I did add a touch of dark blue violet just for fun.

I also wanted the pomegranate flowers motif to be the central feature of the composition. This has been a favourite of mine for just about ever. This appears in the middle as two overlapping lines. I put in the dark blue violet here to help this motif stand out. This left just enough space to put in three simple versions of the cypress tree motif to complete the two central lines.

The border took up a fair bit of time to resolve, with restrictions of space and not wanting anything too dense or overwhelming. I wanted to include the damask rose motif, another of my favourites, and decided to place three of them at each corner. The space along the top and bottom is filled with the rose buds motif, while the small vertical space at each end has two lines of the carnation motif.

I used two strands of DMC cotton in various shades of greens and reds. As with just about all Palestinian embroidery the cross stitch was used for all the work. Despite my best attempts the final piece is as usual not square. Not quite as out of kilter as normal, so with a bit of pulling here and there, I might be able to straighten it a bit more.  Happy stitching!